Skipper Heaton on Big Sam's England radar

New England coach Sam Allardyce extended his introductions to Clarets skipper Tom Heaton on Tuesday.

Tom Heaton makes his England debut v Australia. Picture: Frank Reid.
Tom Heaton makes his England debut v Australia. Picture: Frank Reid.

As Allardyce gets his feet under the table at the FA, having replaced Roy Hodgson, he sent e-mails to the 23-man squad on duty at Euro 2016 this summer.

Heaton was third-choice keeper in France behind Manchester City’s Joe Hart and Fraser Forster of Southampton, and he was delighted to be among the players contacted by the new boss: “I just had a brief email to say hello and introduce himself,” said Heaton, who earned his first senior cap as he came on for the final three minutes of May’s friendly win over Australia at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

“I’m sure he’s got an awful lot on, but that arrived on Tuesday, which was fantastic. It was just a general e-mail.

“There’s nothing really that you do about it (replying).

“My focus is just on getting myself right and seeing where it takes me.”

Heaton faces increased competition this season to get in the squad after the return to fitness of Stoke keeper Jack Butland.

But he is eager to add to his solitary cap, and a return to the Premier League with Burnley can only aid his chances.

Heaton said: “Having had a taste of it, I certainly want more. I have a hunger to step on, get more caps, keep involved. I’ll be putting the work in to do that.

“With a new manager coming in you never know what his thoughts are, but all I can really do is get my performance right and see where it takes me.

“When I first got involved it was on the back of a PL season, which was great. Going down to the Championship, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think it would harm my chances but thankfully they stuck with me and I kept trying to focus on my performances, trying to get that in line.

“Playing at the higher level, as long as you’re performing, hopefully will give me a good chance.

He aton believes he is better for the experience of a summer away with England: “Yeah, I think so. I understood the role there for me, I was third choice and going in if required which was probably a long shot.

“But you want to be ready if the team needs you and that’s the first thing to put in place.

“You want to offer something to the lads, always making yourself available if someone who wants to do shooting or finishing.

“Then it’s supporting the other players and next, behind that, is my own personal things. Being involved at that level, working every day with Joe, Fraser and Dave Watson, a very good department, it was fantastic to be involved.

“It can only bring the best out of yourself and I wanted to take everything I could from it.

“Hopefully that can stand me in good stead.”